Washington, Nov.15 : Cyber hackers have broken into the computer system at the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a Fox News report has said.
The hacking took place last week, throwing the IMF into a major crisis.
It provoked a shutdown of IMF computers that lasted for several days.
FOX News has been unable to determine what, if any, information may have been obtained by the hackers. The IMF denies any critical intrusion took place.
The spy-ware discoveries came at a particularly sensitive time for the international bailout institution, which along with the World Bank is expected to play a central role in trying to combat global financial turmoil.
What the IMF intrusion shows is that the physical wiring of the world's financial systems is increasingly vulnerable, and getting worse.
"Electronic safety in the financial sector is in dire jeopardy," claimed Tom Kellermann, a former senior computer security official at the World Bank's ultra-sensitive treasury unit.
Kellermann today is the commissioner of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency, a unit of the Center for Strategic and Internal Studies - a Washington-based security think tank - that is preparing to issue recommendations in early December to President-elect Barack Obama on how to keep the country's computer systems from being penetrated.
IMF officials strenuously deny that any lockdown of its computers took place, and insist that no important or sensitive financial information had been affected.
FOX News reported on October 10 that the World Bank suffered a series of cyber-attacks starting in the summer of 2007, both at headquarters and at other offices around the world.
The World Bank strenuously denies that the intrusions took place, and none of the bank's 24 board members contacted by FOX News would discuss the matter.